Adam Dunn, all is forgiven | Bleader

Heir to Dave Nicholson, reminder of betrayal
Here at the office, I'm looking sharp today in my sky blue Adam Dunn American League All-Star T-shirt. It's a birthday present from a clever friend. My birthday's today, so the rigid Reader dress code has been relaxed for me.

On the train ride downtown this morning, I didn't spot anyone else wearing the Adam Dunn All-Star shirt. And a check of Google Maps Adam Dunn All-Star T-Shirt View confirms that I am, in fact, the only person in downtown Chicago wearing the shirt today.

It was the perfect gift. As some of you are aware, I've been one of Dunn's biggest supporters since the Big Breeze blew into town 319 strikeouts ago.

If I have one thing against Dunn, it's that he reminds me of Dave Nicholson, the all-or-nothing White Sox swinger of the 1960s, who I blame for severing my tight relationship with my brother.

In the alley behind our home at 6025 S. Kilbourn, my brother Mickey and I spent countless summer afternoons mimicking the White Sox's great double-play combo, little Looey Aparicio (his favorite player) and little Nellie Fox (mine). That is, we threw rubber-ball grounders and bouncers at each other, and pretended to turn two the way the future Hall of Famers did. When a ball got by one of us, the one who missed it inevitably dropped to the pavement, clutched his side, and moaned, "Oh, my leg" as the ball fled down the alley, startling the flies that were exploring the occasional dog-shit piles.

Mickey and I were Sox loyalists, and our devotion to the team deepened our fidelity to each other. Or so it seemed to me, the younger brother.

And then one January afternoon in 1963, when I was eight and Mickey ten, I came home from school to learn that the Sox had traded Little Looey to the Orioles. Traded him for, among others, a 23-year-old with "tremendous power," as the Tribune put it, who'd "failed to hit consistently in his many trials in the league." Nicholson.

The loss of Little Looey was bad enough news. Far worse was Mickey's immediate announcement that he was leaving the Sox too—following his favorite player to the Orioles.

He made good on his threat. And with us cheering for rival teams, we were never quite as close as we'd been before the fateful trade. I didn't have the heart to fault my brother for the betrayal; so, of course, I blamed Nicholson. This became easier when Nicholson whiffed his way into the record books that season with a phenomenal 175 Ks, then the all-time big league record. That's been eclipsed repeatedly in the recent swing-from-the-heel years, but it stood as the Sox record until last season, when Dunn fanned 177 times. With 142 Ks already this year, our all-star should break his own record before August is done.

Is it fair to carry a grudge again Dunn for a trade made 16 years before he was born? Maybe not. So I'm happy to atone by carrying the big fellah on my back today.